Semi-Pro basketball talents Josh Hatcher and Teohn Conner combined for 62 points on Sept. 23, in a 104-90 victory over the San Quentin Warriors.
Hatcher plays for the Oakland Bayhawks, a semi-pro team.
“Nate told me to come,” said Hatcher, who is with Mount Olive Christian Deliverance Center in Oakland. “I always want to be part of the people for the grace of God. I feel like God invited me.”
Conner used to play for the San Francisco Rumbles but now coaches a youth basketball team. His motto: Go hard.
“I try to do what I preach; go hard is my foundation,” Conner said. “If I’m giving it all I got, I consider that a win for me.”
Conner has the uncanny ability to drive through traffic and either finish in the paint or exercise the tenacity to grab his own rebounds and score. He gave the Warriors problems from the paint, behind the arc and from the free-throw line. His 32 points and 22 rebounds kept the Warriors in the rearview mirror until the third quarter.
Warriors guards stepped up in the absence of Harry “ATL” Smith. David Lee led his team with 21 points.
With the Warriors down 60-58, Lee nailed a three pointer.
Hatcher answered with an offensive-rebound put-back to retake the lead at 63-61, but Lee answered again with a floater.
Lee is good at driving to the rack or hitting outside shots from anywhere on the court.
New Warrior Kai Williams, a 21-year old, 5-foot-8 guard who won a Northern California National Champion with Berkeley High School, made his first shot from the field. It gave the Warriors another lead at 76-73 with 2:15 left in the third.
“This basketball program keeps me out of trouble, helps me work on the things I have to work on and to have fun,” said Williams.
Hatcher brought Imago within one with a one-handed jam. He finished with 30 points.
Conner took the lead back after rebounding his own missed shots twice. The third ended with Imago up 80-78.
In the fourth quarter, Imago jumped out 12 points ahead and the Warriors never caught up again.
Imago Steve Diekmann, who played for Grinnell College back when, scored 18 and guard Mike Kehrig added 17.
For the Warriors, Allan McIntosh dropped 19, Tyrrell Price, Sr., 12 and Andre “NBA” Belion, 10.
“We got lackadaisical at times and didn’t play basketball at times. We’re a good team but not a great team – we have to make the little things count,” Lee said.
The game marked the first back for Tony Thomas since Warrior Harry “ATL” Smith accidently broke his nose.
“I went for the strip, and he just happened to turn into me,” Thomas said about the basketball accident.
Steve “Big Red” Sanderson delivered a motivational message about the importance of gathering together.
“Do not give up meeting together,” said Sanderson, a pastor at Corner Stone Church. “We gather to encourage each other, lift each other up, learn each other’s lives and pray for each other.”
Thomas added, “We’re equally encouraged by you guys. Continue encouraging each other; if everyone does that, this world will be a better place.”